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Red Raider Gridiron | Sheffield Is Honest and We Love Rankings and Lists

Sheffield Is Very Honest:  Lee Barfknecht typically writes for a Kansas City area newspaper, but I found this article in the Independent, which I think is a Nebraska newspaper.  Whatever.  This completely escaped me and I guess everyone else during the Big 12 Media Days, but QB Steven Sheffield was pretty honest about how the defense was treated at Texas Tech:

Leach, known for his single-mindedness toward offense, really did ignore the defense to the point of not even knowing the game plan or major calls at critical times.

"This sounds bad, but they were treated like the step-child," Sheffield said, which led to stress between the two units. "They were off on their own and did about whatever they wanted."

Sheffield is being very open in a number of his interviews, but Sheffield is calling like he sees it.

Sheffield had mentioned last week about how the current staff and OC Brown is very precise in the quarterbacks' drops, but Barfknecht and Sheffield added this:

Schools often tailor some of their teachings and physical conditioning to work done in the NFL, which helps during pro tryouts. Sheffield said that was absent under Leach, leading some Red Raiders to feel they were behind the curve.

Sheffield offered this example:

Leach, for all his self-promoted wizardry, told his quarterbacks nothing more than to throw to the open receiver. Under a new staff, Sheffield said, different reads are in place for different defenses from the first step.

"And our steps must be precise," he said. "Stats are kept on those things, and they are shown to players every day.

"NFL scouts look at that stuff. They look at your first step being straight back and not false-stepping. That’s stuff we were never coached up on."

The part about never being coached on a precise drop was reported last week, but the part about how all Leach coached the quarterbacks to do is to throw to the open receiver wasn't. The other part is that there's no direct quote from Sheffield, so I'm not sure if Barfknecht is taking some reporting liberties.

Big 12 Forecast:  Dr. Saturday's Matt Hinton wraps up his Big 12 Week with a Big 12 prediction where he thinks Texas Tech will finish 3rd in the Big 12 South:

True to word, Texas Tech will continue to "air it out," finishing as the league's most pass-happy team for the 11th consecutive season. But Tommy Tuberville's Raiders will also run as often as they throw in at least four regular-season games – that is, at least four more times than they leaned toward the run in a solid decade under departed "Air Raid" maestro Mike Leach, who called for more passes than runs in each and every one of his 128 games as Tech head coach, regardless of the opponent.

Emerging in the Big 12:  DMN's Chuck Carlton thinks that Missouri, Texas A&M and Texas Tech could emerge in the Big 12:

Say what you will about the eccentricities of fired coach Mike Leach, but Tech gained a national presence in his 10 years.

Under the circumstances, Tech got a better coach than it could have expected in Tommy Tuberville.

Consider that just three Big 12 head coaches have ever put together perfect seasons, including a league title game win and bowl victory. That would be Mack Brown, Bob Stoops – and Tuberville, in 2004 with Auburn. He knows how to win, and Leach left behind a nice stockpile.

Tuberville seems to have shrewdly managed the transition. In his introductory meeting, he apologized to his players for what they had endured. He's talked goals, like national titles, that were banned under Leach. He brought in offensive coordinator Neal Brown for spread continuity, while tweaking some of Leach's more outrageous tendencies.

"You have to get your philosophy over," Tuberville said. "If you don't sell that to your team and your fans, then you're going to have problems. You've got to let them know up front how you're going to handle things."

NewsOK Likes Lists, Everyone Loves Lists:  If you wanted a list, it's here:  12 Things Learned at Big 12 Media Days, 12 Things Not Learned at Big 12 Media Days, and the Best of the Big 12 Football

More Rankings:  FSSW's Eddie Middlebrook ranks the defensive lines and thinks that Texas Tech has the 10th best defensive line:

10) Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are also switching from 4-3 to 3-4 and return one starter from last season, NT Colby Whitlock. The nose tackle is the only senior on the two deep roster which includes projected starter DE Kerry Hyder who is a freshman.

I think Middlebrook puts a lot of stock into returning starters more than production on the field and what that team did the previous year.  That's fine (Texas Tech is replacing some stalwarts along the line, so it's understandable), but I think that's where he's going with a lot of his rankings.

CJOnline's Kevin Haskin ranks the Big 12 running backs and thinks that Texas Tech's Baron Batch is the 5th best in the conference:

5) BARON BATCH, Texas Tech — Another unsung back whose versatility makes him dangerous in Tech’s new system. Just ask Kansas about the effect Batch had leading Tech to 28 fourth-quarter points in a rally last season.

Haskin also talks about the increased roll of the running game in the Big 12.

FSSW's Hunter Ansley also has ten truths about the Big 12 and had this to say about head coach Tommy Tuberville:

Tommy Tuberville will bring back his famous cigar-smoking antics
He’ll do it after beating Texas on September 18. That’s Tuberville’s birthday. It’s also a date on which Tuberville has gone undefeated as a head coach. In 1999, he brought his team onto the Tiger Stadium field after a 41-7 victory over LSU and proceeded to light up a celebratory stogie with his student athletes. In 2004, he skipped the tobacco session but still won a 10-9 squeaker over the Bayou Bengals with a little help from some sketchy officiating. This season he’ll be coaching against his former defensive coordinator (and LSU’s former defensive coordinator), Will Muschamp, and burning one down on his home field might be too tempting to pass up after shocking the nation with an upset of the Longhorns.